Monday, June 13, 2011

New USDA Food Plate

Check out this great article about the USDA's new Food Plate that replaced the Food Pyramid. The author's key point, for me, is that trying to educate people on what to eat is a rather ineffective way of changing their eating behavior.

Certainly, it is good that the USDA has changed its recommendations to emphasize fruits and vegetables, and it emphasizes (or at least, discusses at length) beans and other meat alternatives as sources of protein -- that don't have cholesterol, a major contributor to heart disease and heart attack.

Nonetheless, if we look at government subsidies, the organization of grocery stores, mass marketing and advertisements -- in short, if we look at the organization of our food system -- then we have to acknowledge that our food system promotes, indeed relies on, people eating unhealthy diets. To a great degree, that's because unhealthy diets are often the most profitable; those foods have a lot of added-value.

Trying to educate consumers is fine and nice, but ultimately it won't change eating behaviors. To do that, we have to make serious reforms to the system that produces the food we eat. Until we do that, the average American diet will be less than ideal, less than healthy.

No comments:

Post a Comment